The One-Hit Wonders – The 2000s Part 14.

This is another one of those frustrating situations where this group only had one hit single in the UK, but the one that I like the most by them and would rather go on about actually didn’t make the Top 75. Freeform Five are an electronic production group, that has also featured various singers and musicians, and their first single was released as early as 1997.

But they didn’t get near the chart for the first time until December 2003, when the rather spectacularly-titled “Eeeeaaooww” was released, and reached an unofficial no. 180. Next in July 2004 was “Strangest Things”, which reached an unofficial no. 90 (and an album with the same name was released around the same time, but didn’t chart).

In October 2004, “Eeeeaaooww” was given another go, and this time reached an unofficial no. 86, a big improvement on last time, but still not high enough to be a hit. In October 2005 “No More Conversations” was released, but that hit still proved elusive when this reached an unofficial no. 123. This is the one that is my favourite of theirs, maybe it would be a good idea to give this one another go too.

Then in January 2006, they collaborated with the producer Mylo. He had already had a few hit singles, that were “Drop The Pressure”, “Destroy Rock And Roll”, and “In My Arms”. As if “Drop The Pressure” wasn’t epic enough already, this was re-released as a mash-up with Miami Sound Machine’s “Dr Beat” to become “Doctor Pressure”, which was his first and only Top Ten hit single.

So while he was rather high-profile, Freeform Five were lucky enough to get to work with him, on “Muscle Car”. This reached no. 38, to become their only hit single, but they had got there at last. Then in June 2007 “No More Conversations” was re-released, and this time reached an unofficial no. 77, being very close to becoming their second hit, which it deserved to be.

I remember that this was on the radio rather a lot at the time, and the video features a dance being done by some invisible people. Once again, why this wasn’t huge, and considered by many to be the sound of the summer is a mystery to me. And returning the compliment, Mylo did a remix of this. Since then, Freeform Five have continued to be in-demand remixers.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 42.

This is someone who was “bubbling under” on the chart (I probably should’ve continued to call this series The No-Hit Wonders, but it’s too late now). If you can provide any information on the acts featured, if you bought their single, you saw them live, or maybe you even played the drums on their album, any further memories are welcome.

I do vaguely remember this singer from the time, and I was surprised to realise that she never made the Top 100 with any of her singles, never mind the Top 50. Pop stars sometimes like to create alter egos. They might change their name or their look, and explore the more extreme areas of their personality. This is a good example of one of those moments.

Megan Burns started out as an actress in her teens, appearing in films including 28 Days Later, and she even won an award for one of her performances. And then one day, Megan suddenly turned into Betty Curse, the singer who had crow’s nest hair, and rather a lot to get off her chest. This was in the mid-2000s, if almost seems laughable now, but if you wanted to make yourself known, you had to go on MySpace.

One of her songs was “Excuse All The Blood”, but this didn’t make the chart at all. But then in September 2006 “God This Hurts” was released, which reached only an unofficial no. 116, but is still her biggest success. This was followed in November 2006 by “Girl With Yellow Hair”, which reached an unofficial no. 132. Now I never knew a girl with yellow hair when I was at school, I’m rather jealous.

This was my favourite by her though. Betty did promote this on a few shows, including an interview on live TV rather early in the morning where she was captioned “gothic pop artiste”, and she also performed this on CBBC’s The Slammer. This didn’t give her that much of a boost though. The album “Hear Lies” and the single “Do You Mind (If I Cry)” were not a success either.

I’ve never really been that interested in those debates about how “real” a singer is, and who their music is aimed at exactly. Maybe she did gain a few fans who were going through that rebellious streak in their lives, but there just wasn’t that many of them really. And it seems that not long after this, she turned back into Megan, and resumed her acting career.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 15.

This is an American duo who did some exciting things on the chart in the 2000s decade. Outkast consisted of Andre 3000 and Big Boi. They had actually released their first single in America as early as 1993, but in February 2001 “Ms Jackson” entered the lower end of the UK chart on import, such was the anticipation for this one. And then in March 2001, “Ms Jackson” became the song that turned them into big names.

This reached no. 2, to become their biggest hit in the UK, although this was a chart-topper in America. Going into 2002, next up were “So Fresh So Clean” and “The Whole World”. Now although these weren’t among their biggest hits, they are among my favourites by them. As well as the music channels, I remember the video for “The Whole World” being shown on ITV2.

This was on a show called Chart Choice, where they would show a music video or two when they had a five or ten minute gap in the schedule, and I always hoped that this one would turn up (and don’t forget Killer Mike, is he related to Stereo Mike from Bran Van 3000?). They were also appearing on the cover of NME by this point, bad luck for all those indie bands supposedly shaking the scene, but there’s no doubt that they were doing something rather innovative.

And they were also making the Grammy awards in the rap and urban categories their own, winning them for their songs year after year. After two more minor hits, by 2003, Outkast split… except they didn’t. They released a double album, that was actually two albums recorded individually by them, and then they were grouped together under the Outkast name, which offered rather different sounds.

In November 2003 “Hey Ya!” was released. And, in what was a rarity for this time, this seemed to go up the chart for several weeks, as the word spread that this was one of the catchiest hits on the scene. This reached no. 3, although this was another long-running chart-topper back in America. They continued to win several awards, and they probably argued over who got to keep them.

Going into 2004, they had further acclaimed Top Ten hits with “The Way You Move” and “Roses”, and they really were having twice the success of most acts. But by September 2006, “Morris Brown” missed the Top 40, and little has been heard of Outkast since. “Ms Jackson” briefly returned to the chart in February 2013, but that’s been it really. Maybe they really did split for good this time.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 13.

I can’t resist it, I’m going to take a look back at another song by a dance production group, and that’s because this is another one that I really liked at the time and I feel is worth featuring. Chocolate Puma were a Dutch production duo who had released singles under various names, and they had a UK Top Ten hit single as early as 1993 with “Give It Up” (which was sampled on Simply Red’s 1995 chart-topper “Fairground”), at which point they were known as The Goodmen. This was also a minor hit in America.

In March 2001, as Chocolate Puma, “I Wanna Be U” was released, and this reached no. 6, so I suppose it could be said that this was actually their second UK Top Ten hit. Now 2001 was a year that for me was packed with really great dance singles on the chart, although I was in my mid-teens at the time, when I was really into pop music, but this one still managed to stand out more than most. vlcsnap-00423

This is partly because of the rather bizarre video, that I remember watching on MTV and is difficult to describe, although I did get something of an 80s vibe off this, and you should know how much I like 80s pop culture by now, wherever the references might turn up. There was some chocolate involved too naturally. They went on to have another Top Ten hit in 2001 under the alias Riva, with “Who Do You Love Now?”, featuring a guest vocal from Dannii Minogue. vlcsnap-00424

About a year on from their success, In May 2002 “Follow Da Leader” was released by Trinidad & Tobago duo Nigel And Marvin, and this was essentially someone shouting over the instrumental of “I Wanna Be U”. Although I thought this was far inferior, this reached no. 5, meaning that this went one better than the original, which is something of an injustice for me, even if it was good to see this unexpectedly return to the Top Ten in some form.vlcsnap-00425

Fans had to wait a rather long time for the follow-up under the Chocolate Puma name though, and over five years on from their big moment, in August 2006 “Always And Forever” was released, and this reached only no. 43, and that was that. In more recent years Chocolate Puma (or whatever they’re called now) have gone on to release many more singles, although none of them have been a hit in the UK, and they are also much in demand remixers.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 5.

In pop music, as times change, there have been various ways that acts have been marketed, and sometimes they are pushed so they deliberately gain publicity from causing shock, and this was definitely one of the more extreme examples of this from this era. You should know by now that I an a fan of female duos, but they haven’t been many like this one.

TATU (or however you write it) were a Russian group that formed in the early-2000s, consisting of Moscow-born Julia and Lena. In January 2003 “All The Things She Said” (not to be confused with the 80s Simple Minds hit) was released, this was Number One for four weeks, and also reached no. 20 in America. Unsurprisingly they were the first Russian act to achieve a chart-topping single in the UK. vlcsnap-00259

But why was this such a success? The gimmick was simply that they were supposed to be two teenage schoolgirls who were somewhat fond of each other, put it that way. Pop music fans who thought that they had seen it all couldn’t believe it when they saw the video, and all this really did cause a real stir. It is difficult to think how the girls felt about all this, it seems that they were acting out one of their manager’s seedier fantasies. vlcsnap-00261

Around the same time their second of six albums (and first in English) “200KHM In The Wrong Lane” was released, and this just missed the Top Ten. People might forget though that they had two further Top Ten hit singles in the UK, and in 2003 they also participated in the Eurovision Song Contest (where they finished third), although by this point their act seemed to attract more tut-tutting and eye-rolling from people than shock. vlcsnap-00263

In November 2005, third album “Dangerous And Moving” was released, but this missed the Top 75. And in February 2006, “Friend Or Foe” was released, but this reached only no. 48, and this was the final hit for TATU. Just three years on from their peak they were now old news, as pop music moved on yet again. They have gone on to work on various projects since, and the idea probably wouldn’t work any more now they’re about 35 years old, but for a brief moment they were a huge talking point.